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Early Reviews for Sacré Bleu

February 1st, 2012 · 5 Comments

Author: Moore, Christopher

Review Issue Date: February 15, 2012
Online Publish Date: February 5, 2012
Pages: 416
Price ( Hardcover ): $26.99
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-06-177974-9
Category: Fiction

An aspiring painter and unabashed romantic joins the greatest artists of the age in chasing his muse across fin de siècle–era France.

There are really two ages and two operating modes for hugely popular comedic writer Moore (The Griff, 2011, etc.). There’s the deceptively easy humor of his early California novels, which only gets sharper and funnier in his San Francisco–based vampire novels. But from time to time, Moore gets obsessed with a particular subject, lending a richer layer to his peculiar brand of irreverent humor—see Lamb (2003), Fluke (2003) and Fool (2009) for examples. Here, the author gets art deeply under his fingernails for a wryly madcap and sometimes touching romp through the late 19th century. The story surrounds the mysterious suicide of Vincent van Gogh, who famously shot himself in a French wheat field only to walk a mile to a doctor’s house. The mystery, which is slowly but cleverly revealed through the course of the book, is blue: specifically the exclusive ultramarine pigment that accents pictures created by the likes of Michelangelo and van Gogh. To find the origin of the hue, Moore brings on Lucien Lessard, a baker, aspiring artist and lover of Juliette, the brunette beauty who breaks his heart. After van Gogh’s death, Lucien joins up with the diminutive force of nature Henri Toulouse-Lautrec to track down the inspiration behind the Sacré Bleu. In the shadows, lurking for centuries, is a perverse paint dealer dubbed The Colorman, who tempts the world’s great artists with his unique hues and a mysterious female companion who brings revelation—and often syphilis (it is Moore, after all). Into the palette, Moore throws a dizzying array of characters, all expertly portrayed, from the oft-drunk “little gentleman” to a host of artists including Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Moore’s humor is, as ever, sweetly juvenile, but his arty comedy also captures the courage and rebellion of the Impressionists with an exultant joie de vivre.


Sacre Bleu.

Moore, Christopher (Author)
Apr 2012. 416 p. Morrow, hardcover, $26.99. (9780062097749).
Moore drops his readers into the strange world of nineteenth-century France, where the line between past and present, real and surreal, shifts with a mere brushstroke. A baker and aspiring artist, protagonist Lucien Lessard grew up surrounded by Impressionist painters, all of whom seem to have fallen under the magical spell of a particular shade of blue. Van Gogh’s death and posthumous warning of a dangerous villain, the Colorman, sets Lessard and his friend, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, off on a journey to discover the power behind the Colorman’s blue paint. Entwined in their journey is the beautiful but mysterious Juliette. Mingling comedy and mystery, Moore crafts an intricate story that teases the reader with numerous twists and bawdy humor. While Lessard is fictional, many of the characters are based on historical figures, and their use of modern slang can be jarring. Toulouse-Lautrec emerges vibrantly, but some of the other painters struggle to come to life. Still, this is an imaginative and amusing look at the Impressionist era, and Moore’s prose is fresh and engaging.
— Eve Gaus

Moore, Christopher.

Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art.

Morrow. Apr. 2012. c.416p. illus. ISBN 9780061779749. $26.99. F

Moore (Fool; You Suck) set out to write a book about the color blue. What he ended up with is a surprisingly complex novel full of love, death, art, and mystery. When baker–turned–aspiring artist Lucien Lessard, whose father was friends with some of the preeminent French artists of the late 19th century, receives a special tube of vibrant blue paint from the mysterious Juliette, his amateurish painting becomes masterly and his life becomes a mess. Obsessed with painting and loving Juliette, Lucien must discover the mystery of the blue paint, the origins of Juliette, and the identity of her near-constant companion, the frighteningly sinister Colorman who haunted other artists like Van Gogh, Monet, Pissarro, and Cézanne. In the end, the true question for Lucien is, “At what price art?” VERDICT Don’t let Moore’s quirky characters and bawdy language fool you. His writing has depth, and his peculiar take on the impressionists will reel you in. One part art history (with images of masterpieces interspersed with the narrative), one part paranormal mystery, and one part love story, this is a worthy read. Considering the large marketing push and Moore’s rabid fan base, expect demand.

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jim Picard // Feb 3, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Thank you thank you thank you. I’m an Impressionist freak! I’m looking forward to this book with breath taking anticipation…….

  • 2 Paige Cuccaro // Feb 11, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Love your books! Adding this to my TBR pile. I would love to be able to write like you. In fact…you should clue people in to how you do it. Dude, how do you write funny? Seriously.

  • 3 Debbie Poole // Oct 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I have the lovely colored version of your book. I’ve seen books with jackets before but never a shawl! Awesome and interesting book. I’m having our group’s November 28th book club meeting at my home and Sacre Bleu was the book I had them read. Can you help me out with any great discussion questions direct from you? I’d be most appreciative. Not sure if you ever made it to Phoenix for a book signing. I’ll be borrowing some of your other books from my son now that I’ve read your satire and love it a bunch. Thanks for the enjoyment. D.K.P.

  • 4 thefatherphil // Oct 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    hey first time reader/blog visitor/author…ect////ect.

    i am a painter who became a folk musician, i have stories to tell that are decent and could affect/effect (thatswherei’mat) world peace. i can;t focus upon painting music or writing (solo). so i must do all.
    sadly i died in a motorcycle wreck (it didn’t stick) my wife got cancer (it didnt stick) and then left me for a rich guy (it didnt stick….ha!…wait the leaving me part did….) and then me mother died (it has stuck thus far) 🙁

    So my reason for writting (other than free plot)
    is that i am reading love nun and need to know how you quit being tuck and got your writing done inspite of the day job(s).

    w/love – thefatherphil

  • 5 Eric Kline // Aug 8, 2020 at 9:28 am

    after thoroughly enjoying your “Noir”, i checked the local library stacks and found your even more amusing “Sacre Bleu”! towards the middle of reading recent discovery was announced Vincent’s last painting of blue roots
    thank you for your writing

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